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After the Maple Leafs Total Beat Down in Pittsburgh: Now What?

The Toronto Maple Leafs were totally embarrassed by the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 7-1 score. What should the team do next?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have played six games this season and, to say it bluntly, things have gone from bad to worse. Tonight was nothing less than a total 7-1 beatdown at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not much – ok nothing – went right.

I don’t care if they played without five of their best players? Tonight, the Penguins would likely have overwhelmed the Maple Leafs without a bunch more of their best players out. It was that bad.

Related: Three Takeaways from the Maple Leafs’ 5-3 Loss to the Sharks

Was This Game a Bet Someone Lost with Satan?

The Maple Leafs would have never won this game, and it looked as if the Maple Leafs were cursed or were paying the price for losing some cosmic bet with Satan. It was that bad. 

In truth, this is no excuse; but, I’ve never seen a team that was so unlucky. It seemed as if three Penguins’ goals went into the net off weird bounces – like off goalie Jack Campbell’s glove – then off a Penguins player – then into the net. Sadly, that’s not the first time that’s happened this season. The three first-period goals in the 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators were almost similar in nature.

It was just crazy.

Just Have to Mention Pierre Engvall Here

In the end, the Maple Leafs were totally beat down and totally embarrassed. The only player who came close to having a decent game was Pierre Engvall. Amazingly, in the 7-1 loss, Engvall played 13:12 minutes and ended at a plus 1. He was on the ice for the Maple Leafs’ goal by Jason Spezza but was miraculously not on for any Penguins’ goals.

That’s an amazing statistic when you think about it. My guess is that it’s the only positive statistic the Maple Leafs can boast on the evening.

Pierre Engvall Maple Leafs
Pierre Engvall Maple Leafs

In the end, the team is now six games into the season and the stars who should be leading this team have turned totally unproductive. The skilled players have not been skilled. The scorers have not scored. The goalies have not stopped the puck. The coaches have not coached the team.

Now the team is headed to Carolina to play Frederik Andersen and the Hurricanes. Oh my. It would be the very end of a cruel joke to be shut out by the team’s former starting goalie. 

Now What? The Team’s Three Choices

There seem to be three choices the Maple Leafs might make tomorrow morning. Only one of them is good. 

That good one is, as the Hockey Night in Canada panel suggests, the whole bunch of them – coaches, players, equipment managers, everyone – could just recognize the game for what it was and flush it where it belongs.

Don’t anguish. Don’t watch the film. Don’t yell and scream. Don’t turn on each other. Don’t beat up the players with their mistakes. Just come out and play another game, working hard to be more successful.

[By the way, ironic as it is after I suggested not watching the film, the Penguins’ highlights are included in the video below. Maple Leafs’ fans watch them at your own risk. They might contain scenes of futility.]

Second, the players, the team, or the organization could decide this team isn’t as good as they thought, panic, and make rash choices, and do silly things. That’s a bad choice.

Third, the players could quit on each other and on the coaches. It’s happened before and will happen again. That’s the worst choice.

What Maple Leafs’ Team Will Emerge from the Rubble?

Honestly, I now have no idea what this team is or how good it could be. But I don’t think it’s the team we saw tonight.

Related: Maple Leafs’ William Nylander Will Shatter Best Single Season Totals



  1. Randy Alexander

    October 24, 2021 at 7:11 am

    This is worse than we could have ever imagined, I don’t know if I can handle another rebuild. There are many issues but the one that has bothered me the most is Nick Ritchie. I mean we must have Pro Scouts that watch NHL players. He looked so slow and ineffective in Boston I could not believe the Leafs would sign him. He actualy reported to the Leafs even heavier at 237 lbs and yes there are bigger issues” Marner, Coaching”… but Ritchie is ill suited to top line minutes and we need someone to take those minutes. It’s weird but two of our $11 million dollar players seem to have confidence issues. At this point up against the cap our options are very limited. I guess stay the course and hope. It’s not where I thought we would be 4 years ago.

  2. Dennis harris

    October 24, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Total disgrace.Shanahan,Dubas,and Keefe have to go immediately.Please bring nhl experienced people to run this team and get players who can win board battles

  3. Rimas Panavas

    October 24, 2021 at 10:25 am

    With all due respect, the first goal was not a weird bounce, it went off a Penguin’s player who was positined didrectly in front of the goalie with a defenceman shoulder to shoulder with him. What was he doing there? The wrap around, if my eyes don’t fail me completely, was deflected off Muzzin’s stick, then shot up and over the blocker and pad. The puck did not go under Campbell but up and over his pad and below his blocker/glove, can’t remember. Nothing Cambell could do in either case, if you look closely to notice or ask, where are the defensemen? and what do they think they are doing? Same with the next poor soul in net. Penguins in front of him, directly in front of him as he strains to see from where the shot cometh. Sad stuff but a team problem, not Campbell or Hutch, not this game anyway. Cosmic Ray

  4. gfinale

    October 24, 2021 at 10:50 am

    The Penguins without Crosby, Malkin, Carter and Letang is almost an AHL team!! Weird bounces happen when there are 5 players in front of the goalie…which never happens when the Leafs are shooting. Some will say they got a goal on a lucky bounce. I’ll say, well, what about Nylander’s shot bouncing off Tavares’ arm? Tavares was in the right place or it wouldn’t have and they were too 😉 Some will say the refs are against them. To that I say the refs have been calling the regular season the same as exhibition so far, concentrating huge on sticks getting in gloves area and the Leafs have been guilty of not waking up to it! Tavares complained after getting 2 penalties for getting his stick where the opposition has their gloves on their stick. Tavares, shut up and don’t put your stick there!! Some have been saying don’t worry about Matthews and Marner, the shot numbers are good. So, how long not to worry about that, another 6 games?! I love Spezza but he needs to not get penalties or he’s not worth it!! Don’t blame the refs, don’t blame the other player, stop it Spezza!! Some of us have been saying there should be concerns when the Leafs are only doing as good as they’ve done because they’re playing 2 of the weaker teams. Well, we seem to be getting proven correct. Sure, Campbell could have made one or two more saves but, does he really need to play outstanding for them to win any games?!! Also, was it wise to play him in the second of back to backs and increase wrecking his confidence?! If so, they’re only really any good because of their goalie and lousy otherwise. It would be nice if they showed up for the first period consistently because they sure haven’t! Rielly again mistakenly pinched in the 1st period with the score only 0-1, giving the opposition a 2 on 1. They have forgotten how to be patient which is what Babcock worked very hard to tech them. No reason for it, especially when, supposedly the Leafs have so much offense. No reason to do so in the 1st period, NONE. So, I would encourage the people who make all the excuses in the world to instead, look at what the Leafs are doing wrong because it’s obvious. They are screwing up in many ways. It’s only when they stop with the excuses and take responsibility for their poor play that they have a chance to play better…or else they’re going to dig a hole and regret it in the spring.

  5. getrdone

    October 24, 2021 at 10:58 am

    Talk about a beatdown!! Where is the pride on this team? Where is the heart or the competitiveness? The only heart here is in a guy that plays for minimum and is dying to win a cup. Jason Spezza has heart and Bunting does leave it on the ice, but the core here just appears to be rotten. Is that because too much money too early in their careers? Where is Tavares? I have not heard a word from the captain. Man that was pathetic.

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